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  1. Internet Kill Switch Approved In Committee by U.S. Senate

    Yesterday evening, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved a bill that would allow the president to "shut down private sector or government networks" in the event of a cyber attack that threatened lives or other "major damage."

    From The Hill:

    "It's been frustrating to read some of the misrepresentations of our bill in the cybersphere," [Susan Collins, Republican Rep from Maine and co-sponsor of the bill] said, arguing the new bill actually circumscribes the president's existing authority and puts controls on its use. "I believe the substitute amendment we’re offering strengthens those protections even more."

    Maybe that is because the objection is not against allowing the President to shut off the internet in certain circumstances, but allowing the President to shut off the internet at all.

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  2. Sci-Fi Thriller Series Pioneer One Debuts… For Torrents!

    More than one million people are expected to download the pilot episode of Pioneer One, the new indie sci-fi series by filmmakers Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith which debuted on Bittorent-powered distribution platform VODO last Wednesday, with P2P file-sharing giants such as uTorrent, Limewire and The Pirate Bay also pledging their support. As of this post's publication, there are over 19,000 seeders for one torrent of the episode. It's an exciting vision of how entertainment content will be presented in the future: After all, why spend buckets of money trying to get your show on television when you can circulate it directly among the viewers? Who watches actual television nowadays, anyway?

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  3. The European Solar Decathlon: Our Favorites

    Modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Solar Decathlon, the European Solar Decathlon is a competition for seventeen teams from different academic institutions to create the most efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly solar-powered house. The designs are pretty interesting, and we've complied our favorites, from an aesthetic point of view, below. Since the competition only began yesterday, this is pretty much the only thing you can judge them on. The American version of the competition lasts for three weeks.

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  4. Largest Dinosaur Bone Bed Ever Found, Found

    Paleontologists in Alberta have found a dinosaur bone bed covering an area of nearly one and a half square miles, making it the largest such bed ever discovered. It contains the remains of thousands of Centrosaurus apertus, a species whose closest famous relative is of course the Triceratops. Previous discoveries of these animals provided the first evidence that some dinosaurs lived in herds. Now, based on the new bone bed, paleontologists are drawing new conclusions. First, that some ceratopsian herds may have been much larger that originally thought, with individuals numbering in the "high hundreds to low thousands." I'll give you a moment to visualize a group of these 18-20 foot long animals of that size. The other conclusion is that these sorts of bone beds were not created when centrosauri drowned while fording a river, but by a massive, deadly storm; ruining any hopes of a dinosaur themed Oregon Trail.

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  5. For Sale: House, White; 55,000 Sqare Feet, 5 Bedrooms, 35 Baths

    Here's your amusing computer glitch of the day: Real estate listing website Redfin.com aggregated an example listing from Owners.com, and thus appeared to be offering the White House for sale.  By the owner. Yes, that White House.

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  6. Australian Stores Refuse to Sell You an iPad Unless You Buy Unnecessary Crap

    You mean other than the iPad? HEY-oooooooo! But seriously, folks. Consumers in Australia say that some JB Hi-Fi stores told them that they could not sell them an iPad unless they bought other stuff too. Like a docking station, screen protector, Telstra SIM cards, or charging adapters, even after having it pointed out to them that the iPad box said that the charger was included. When customers asked why they couldn't just buy an iPad, the stores answered: Apple policy.

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  7. Breaking: You Can Get Viruses From Porn Sites

    Results from an in depth study of the security of free porn websites were released at the Workshop on the Economics of Information Security,which was held at Harvard. The practices used by free porn websites to drive traffic (their only commodity) "have almost inadvertently created a whole ecosystem that's easy to abuse for cyber crime on a large scale," according the leader of the study, Dr. Gilbert Wondracek of the International Secure System Lab. I know, I know, but listen, we all can't be academics.

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  8. North Korea: It’s Got What Plants Crave

    According to - we'd like to point out that this bit of news is not from, say, some weird!news aggregator, but, in fact - the BBC, North Korea has developed a liquid panacea. A "super drink." Made of "microelements." Which makes you smarter, whitens your skin, and keeps you from looking old. It also has no side effects.

    We wish we were making this up.

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  9. Correction: Doctors Do Not Have to Write “Please” to Get Crucial Bloodwork Done at Hospital

    This morning, we read a jaw-dropping story on Slashdot about a hospital in the UK at which doctors supposedly had to write the word 'please' on weekend orders for blood tests. If they didn't abide by this covert cost-cutting measure, the claim went, the tests simply wouldn't be done, even at the risk of patients' health.

    From the article:

    A doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'

    According to the Sun article from which the story originated (that, right there, is a warning sign), the pernicious 'please' requirement was a means of easing pressure on phlebotomists, those prissy technicians whose job it is to draw blood.

    Outrage! Medical profession fail! Here's the thing: It's all nonsense.

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  10. California Fights Back Against Texas Board over Controversial Textbook Changes

    Good legislation out of California?  I guess it had to happen sometime. In reaction to the noted conservative bias of the Texas Board of Curriculum, State Senator Leland Yee has introduced a bill that would require the California Board of Education to pay special attention during its textbook reviews for any of the changes approved by the Texas Board, and then report those findings to the state secretary of education and the state legislature, presumably so that those textbooks can be altered or rejected. Much has been said bout how, as the second largest purchaser of textbooks in the country, the Texas school board has the ability to dictate the content of America's school books.  Well, California is the largest purchaser of textbooks in the country, it just, uh, can't buy any new textbooks until 2013, due to legislation introduced in order to save school districts money.

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